Actress Zendaya has exited the Lifetime TV production of the Aaliyah biopic, the network confirmed on Sunday. “We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold,” Lifetime’s public relations department said on Twitter. It was confirmation of a statement that Zendaya’s representative to E! News earlier on Sunday saying the 17-year-old Disney star “is no longer involved in the project.” As was previously reported, the project was not one that was a favorite of Aaliyah’s fans and her family which expressed disapproval of the project. In fact, fans even circulated a petition to stop production from going forward. Lifetime’s announcement also noted that Zendaya was set to re-record some of Aaliyah’s songs. However, as we reported, Jomo Hankerson, Aaliyah’s cousin and president of her label Blackground Records, said that the family was not down with granting permission of the late singer’s songs to be used. “Because we control the masters [to Aaliyah's recordings], the rights and some images of the musical elements that we put together like the videos, and photo shoots and things that we did, what we can just withhold those elements from the production, which we would do,” said Hankerson.
Kelly Rowland is showing the world that she plans to keep fit throughout her pregnancy! Work it out, Kelly! Many women may take it easy while they’re with child, but not Kelly. The “Motivation” singer, who debuted her baby bump during yoga class, is staying on top of her fitness game. Kelly shared some pictures of herself on Instagra working on her core with a trainer so she can carry her baby in relative comfort.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeVar Burton’s “Reading Rainbow” fundraising effort is getting a boost from a generous pal, Seth MacFarlane. MacFarlane has promised to match up to $1 million in pledges made on the Kickstarter website, Burton said in a statement Thursday. MacFarlane’s offer is in effect through 3 p.m. EDT on July 2, when the online fundraiser is to conclude. Burton said he was left nearly speechless by the “extraordinary generosity” of his friend, the TV and movie writer-producer-actor whose credits include “Ted” and “Family Guy.” MacFarlane’s spokeswoman confirmed the offer. MacFarlane jumped in after hearing that “Reading Rainbow” needed to raise at least $5 million, Burton said. The Kickstarter campaign’s initial goal was $1 million. More than $4 million had been pledged by 83,000-plus contributors as of Thursday afternoon. Burton, star of “Roots and “Star Trek: Next Generation,” was host of the children’s literacy program that aired on public television through 2009. “Reading Rainbow” was launched as a best-selling tablet app in 2012, and aims to expand its reach with a $5 monthly online version. An educator-specific format will be created for schools and made available free to at least 1,500 of the neediest classrooms, according to RRKidz, the for-profit company co-founded by Burton. “It was my mother who taught me that, by picking up a book, I could ‘go anywhere’ and ‘be anything,’” Burton said in a posting on Kickstarter. Contributors can claim rewards ranging from autographed memorabilia to a private dinner with Burton to a chance to put on the visor that the actor wore on “Star Trek.”
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sherri Shepherd says she’s leaving ABC’s daytime talk show The View after seven years. In a statement Thursday, Shepherd says that after “careful consideration” she has decided it’s time to move on. She says she’s looking forward to business opportunities ahead. “It’s been seven wonderful years on ‘The View’ and after careful consideration it is time for me to move on, ” the statement read. “I am extremely grateful to Barbara Walters and [executive producer] Bill Geddie for giving me the opportunity,” Shepherd said in a statement. “I look forward to the business opportunities that lay ahead for me and I am incredibly grateful to my ‘View’ family and my fans for supporting me on this journey.” Eurweb.reports Shepherd’s departure is among several rumored changes at The View, including possibly both Geddie and co-host Jenny McCarthy who’s been there a year, both out the door. According to a person familiar with the situation, Shepherd was negotiating a new contract, and she and ABC failed to reach an agreement. The person wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. This continues a run of bad luck for Shepherd. She is currently embroiled in personal drama with both her current and ex-husband. Her estranged husband, Lamar Sally, has filed for legal separation and is contesting custody of their unborn child via a surrogate, due later this year. Shepherd has subsequently filed for divorce, citing “irreconcilable differences.” Her ex-husband, Jeff Tarpley, who is her 9-year-old son’s father, alleges Shepherd is an “unfit” mother and is suing her for custody modification. They are due in court on July 21.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Singer Chris Brown was close to a plea deal in his assault case that would have kept him out of jail, but the talks fell apart when prosecutors and defense attorneys couldn’t agree on what he would acknowledge happened last year. Brown was arrested in October outside a hotel and charged with misdemeanor assault. A fan accused the singer of hitting him when he tried to get in a photograph Brown was taking with two women. At the time, Brown was on probation for a 2009 attack on singer Rihanna, his then girlfriend. He was released from jail earlier this month. Prosecutor Kevin Chambers said Wednesday they offered a deal for Brown to plead guilty to simple assault and time served in the Washington case. But the Grammy-winning singer’s attorney, Mark Geragos, said defense lawyers and prosecutors couldn’t agree on a statement of facts about what happened outside the W hotel. “They wanted him to read from a script that wasn’t true,” Geragos said after the hearing. The attorney did not say specifically what the disagreement was over. Brown was in court Wednesday, wearing white jeans, a white shirt, a leather jacket and a black tie. His trial was scheduled for Sept. 8. Brown’s bodyguard, Christopher Hollosy, was also charged in the same Washington scuffle. He was accused of being the second person after Brown to strike Parker Adams. Hollosy was convicted of misdemeanor assault in April. He has not yet been sentenced. http://www.blackamericaweb.com
As we recently reported, R. Kelly‘s daughter Jaya recently declared herself as transgender, saying that from now on she’s living her life as Jay. A lot of people expected Mr. Kelly to respond one way or the other., but all they got was silence … until now. Well sorta. He’s speaking out on the situation, but he’s not really revealing anything. In an interview with a Chicago radio station, Kelly said: “You don’t really want to open it up with saying my daughter’s becoming my son, ’cause if that were true… Don’t give the blogs that kind of credit… I’ve heard a lot of things about a lot of people, and it was never true.” Kelly seems to either be displaying denial or he’s implying that it isn’t true. http://www.blackamericaweb.com
R&B heartthrob Trey Songz stopped by ‘Larry King Now’ on a recent promotional tour for his sixth album, Trigga. In parts 1 and 2 the singer details his support of Justin Bieber and President Obama. He also admits to knowing parts of his success is due to his megawatt smile and washboard abs. Watch and tell us if you agree!
Tamar Braxton gave fans on the Love And War Tour a scare when she had a meltdown and nearly lost her voice during a concert in Las Vegas last night. Friday was a tough for Tamar as her body gave out on her while she was on stage. It was so bad that her husband Vincent Herbert had to come out and hold her up before she left to take a long break in her set. Her Tamartians weren’t sure what had happened to the “Braxton Family Values” star, but she broke it down for them in an open letter that she posted to Instagram today. “I really felt like last night was #lightsout for me!” she wrote. “I felt sooo bad I was shaking. I honestly couldn’t remember a lyric ( which is nothing new) a dance step(everynight) but…I never lost my MYSELF where my body took over my mind and left me helpless. I wanted to stay but I couldn’t. I wanted to drink water and catch my breath but I couldn’t.” Explaining that she’s never been left so helpless before, Tamar added, “I was powerless and heartbroken.” The Love And War singer didn’t want to give up on her fans so easily, but she simply didn’t have the strength to go on at first. Knowing how dedicated and supportive her audience was helped her rally the energy she needed. “I tried to get up and go back 3 times but I couldn’t move, talk, sing & worse, breathe. Not until I heard how after all that time past that you ALL was waiting for me no one left!” Tamar wrote. “I GOT my life last night cause u gave it to me! I walked back on stage feeling defeated, frustrated, scared, VOICELESS and STILL u ALL excepted &still loved the REAL Tamar.” Tamar also credited the crowd with helping her fight her way through the rest of the show and singing the words when she could do it. “THAT is how my voice came back I had a TON of energy and you even sang every song until I could do it by myself!! I KNOW you love me for ME!” she stated. “I’ll never forget how u changed my life last night & you all have left me feeling that I will NEVER be the same! Thank you for saving me!” http://www.blackamericaweb.com
*Could Jesse Jackson Jr. taste freedom sooner than expected?
That seems to a possibility, according to a Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke, who told the Chicago Tribune Tuesday that Jackson will be eligible to leave federal prison and serve out the final year of his sentence in a halfway house beginning Sept. 20. News of the former Illinois Democratic Representative’s early release comes a day after officials announced Jackson could have more than three months shaved off his sentence. Under federal prison guidelines, officials may request a reduction of an inmate’s sentence of up to one year upon successful completion of a drug or alcohol treatment program, the Huffington Post reports. Regarding what treatment Jackson may have received while serving time, Burke was tight-lipped. “We don’t discuss an inmate’s programming history,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times. Jackson was sentenced to two and a half years in 2013 for illegally spending $750,000 of campaign funds. He was originally projected to be released from prison Dec. 31, 2015. A recent court filing revealed Jackson paid the remaining $550,000 in restitution he owed the U.S. government, the Post reports. Last month, the disgraced politician, who wrote a check for $200,000 to the U.S. Marshals upon entering prison, is taking steps to pay off the remaining balance by refinancing one of the two homes he and wife Sandi Jackson have in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Convicted at the same time as her husband, Sandi Jackson was sentenced to one year in prison for filing false tax returns. A federal judge in the former Chicago councilwoman’s case allowed Sandi Jackson to serve her sentence after her husband’s in order to have at least one parent free to look after the couple’s young children. Speaking with the Tribune, a Bureau of Prisons spokesman stated that there is no link between Jackson’s restitution payment and new projected release date. The two scenarios, in the eyes of the spokesman, are “unrelated.” If Jackson’s new anticipated release date of Sept. 20, 2015 holds, the politician will be free after serving less than two years of his original sentence. http://www.blackamericaweb.comhttp://www.eurweb.com